BUTTERWORTH: PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said all party leaders should have been privy to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s move to contest a seat in Port Dickson.
“It’s purely academic now to discuss the issue as the focus should be on winning the Port Dickson seat.
“But the leaders’ concern was a serious matter that should be looked into. The issue should be addressed so that their views are taken into consideration in the future,” he said after a PKR election campaign ceramah in SP Arena in Seberang Jaya on Thursday night.
He was replying to a question that he and several leaders were not consulted on the selection of the Port Dickson parliamentary seat for Anwar.
Party secretary-general Datuk Saifudiddin Nasution and vice-president Rafizi Ramli made the announcement on Anwar’s seat on Wednesday. .
On questions if the PKR verbal war among its leaders over the Port Dickson by-election issue would get worse, Azmin said it would not happen as members were mature and committed to the cause and had the wisdom to choose the right leaders.
He said those who questioned his loyalty to Anwar were those who were championing the Reformasi movement from “air-conditioned halls”.
“The reformasi movement was born on the streets, and only those who lived through those moments in 1998 would understand the significance of the word.
“I was among those who were beaten, stepped on, spat on and shamed while others fled the country.
“After what we have endured, there are a few who now claim that I am not loyal enough to the leader.
“They asked me, if you are really loyal, why don’t you vacate your seat for Anwar.
“These are the people who claim loyalty just by kissing the hands of the leader and thumping their chest, saying they are the ones instrumental in taking the reformasi movement forward,” he said.
In recent days, Azmin has been embroiled in a war of words with his challenger Rafizi Ramli in their quest for the party’s number two post.
Azmin, who is seeking a third term as the deputy president, said he had been loyal to the incoming president’s struggle from the very day the latter was sacked from the government in 1998.
Anwar’s sacking led to the reformasi movement and the birth of PKR.
Azmin said certain individuals had openly slandered others and did not have a thread of humility in them.
“Vote for me as I am jobless, they say, and my advice is, if you are jobless, just keep quiet as we have a lot of work to do.
“We were voted in by the people because we showed a united front during the election.
“Any fissure within the party is a betrayal of the people’s trust and they will not forgive us,” said Azmin, adding that he prays that the party would be united again once the party elections is over.
He said they were ready to give their undivided loyalty to Anwar.
Also present were other party leaders like Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari, Works Minister Baru Bian, vice-presidents Dr Xavier Jayakumar and Tian Chua and Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.